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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Colorado AIM Supports Western Shoshone Against Bomb Test

MERCURY, Nev. - The ''Divine Strake'' detonation has been halted, but Western Shoshone continued their protest at the Nevada Test Site over Memorial Day weekend to demand respect for Western Shoshone land rights at the site, as stated in the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863.

Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother, was among 45 people arrested after they crossed the boundary onto the Nevada Test Site in an act of civil disobedience. Security from the site and Nye County sheriff's deputies arrested them and placed them in a holding facility.

''Enough is enough,'' Dann told the crowd before being arrested, which resounded the ''Ya basta!'' (''Enough is enough!'') battle cry of the Zapatistas fighting for indigenous rights in Mexico.

Glenn Morris, attorney, university professor and member of the Colorado Chapter of the American Indian Movement, was arrested. Morris told officers that they were in violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley and the U.S. Constitution. Other members of Colorado AIM participated in the rally, but were not arrested.

''This is treaty land,'' said several Western Shoshone as they were arrested. Non-Western Shoshone received permits to be on the land from the Western Shoshone Nation Council.

Julie Fishel, attorney and advocate for the Western Shoshone Defense Council, and Steven Newcomb, Indian Country Today columnist, were among the 30 women and 15 men arrested.''It doesn't have to be hostile, it can be done in a good way,'' Fishel told Indian Country Today. She said it was the first time she was arrested and as an attorney considered the choice carefully. She said her decision was based on the lawlessness in this country and the United States' refusal to honor decisions of the United Nations, while continuing to violate Western Shoshone and indigenous human rights.

Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney, Tom Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Tupac Enrique, of Tonatierra in Phoenix, led the day's events, which centered on tradition and respect for mother earth. Several hundred people attended the protest and march to the Nevada Test Site. The 45 arrested were cited and released.

The 700-ton explosion named Divine Strake was halted after Western Shoshone filed a lawsuit in federal court and 42 national and international organizations joined forces, including environmental justice, environmental, political, nonproliferation activists, peace activists and indigenous groups.

The ''Not so Divine Strake Protest'' turned into a victory celebration for Western Shoshone, environmental activists and downwinders May 28 at the Nevada Test Site. Downwinders, those who could be affected by the release of radioactive particles from previous blasts, celebrated in Western states including Utah, Idaho and Montana. (Exerpt from article by Brenda Norell, Indian Country Today, 5 June 2006.)

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